Hats off to cancer charity's king of cool, Kane Meredith
REMARKABLE Bangor boy Kane Meredith has beaten off all comers to have NI Cancer Fund for Children's Hats and Shades cartoon cat named after him.
Kane the Cool Kat will be the face of NICFC's Hats and Shades campaign which aims to teach school and nursery kids about sun safety.
Little Kane, now five-years old was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly after starting school last October.
He spent a month in the children's Haematology unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital,undergoing chemotherapy. He is now doing well but for the next three years he will receive maintenance treatment which involves daily chemotherapy at home, steroids and spinal tap surgery every 12 weeks.
Kane's mother, Laura Meredith, said Kane's father Steven submitted the name in recognition of his little son's bravery.
"NICFC has been a charity close to all of our hearts since Kane was diagnosed. They have been there for us from the very beginning so when Kane found out he had won his little face lit up. He has his Kane the Cool Kat t-shirt on every other day."
The Bangor woman added that the whole Meredith family will be forever grateful to the help the family receives from NICFC.
"We have enjoyed stays in the respite cottages which really do make a difference to your state of mind. It's just a chance to get away from the worry and rushing about to appointments. It's a great place to clear your head. For Kane it was a chance to meet other children going through the same thing.
"We have also benefitted from the help of NICFC family support worker, Anne Gordon. She would come around for a couple of hours and play with Kane which would give me a chance to go out and do a bit of shopping. My 3 year-old daughter, Jasmine also looks forward to Anne's visits as she does fun things like arts and crafts with the kids. They know they can get away with being a bit messier with the paints than I would allow," Laura laughed.
Anne Gordon explains while her job is extremely challenging, it is also highly rewarding.
"I provide emotional and social support when a child is diagnosed with cancer. I do one to one work with the children. Cancer can be very isolating for the whole family because the patient can pick up infections so easily. It means they can't really have friends around so we try to provide stimulation for them.
"It's also part of my job to help the parents through a very stressful period. I listen to them when they need to talk and try to help them make sense of what is happening," Anne said.
NICFC fundraiser, Ruth Hobson, urged schools or nurseries interested in the charity's campaigns such as Hats and Shades to contact her on 9080 5599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.